Dear Friends,

I think you will agree that it is an overwhelming joy
to see a loving mother looking into the eyes of her adoring child
both their faces radiant with life and love.

I think you will agree that it is also an overwhelming joy
if the child is not fortunate to have their own mother
or the mother her own child,
to see the two hearts blending with the same radiance and light,

it is undeniable that when someone says
“she is like a mother to me”
it really means
“I know a mother’s love.”

And how beautiful over time to see the mother age and ripen
and her child emerge into fullness of adult life and destiny,
how lucky to have mom for many years,
because a deep friendship like no other emerges
as life brings out happiness and tears,
harmony and argument,
struggle and peace,
sickness and health,
an the new generations are born all the while,
into this bittersweetness, mostly sweet.

My dying mother, fully ready for her next and greatest adventure, said to me in her last days
“I am so lucky I was able to bring my children into this life,
and i will be there to bring you into the next.”

On mother’s day let us also remember
those who have never known such love
and live lives far from it

let us remember those mothers and children
whose bond is tested sorely by poverty, tragedy
sickness and war.

And more than remember, let us pledge
to our living mothers honor
or our departed mothers memory
that we will be there
to protect the fragile bonds between mothers and children

and that we will be
just like a mother
just like a father
just like family
to those so thirsty for this love.

Happy Mother’s day!

Fr Rick Frechette


On March 17th, at 9.00 PM. In the basilica of San Lorenzo in Milan

The Fondazione Francesca Rava – N.P.H. Onlus Italy organizes on St Patrick’s Day, the traditional celebration in honor of the patron saint of Ireland, a suggestive concert with the participation of the biggest permanent Celtic harp orchestra in the world. The concert is organized in favor of  Kay Saint Simon, the new project for children in need in Haiti that has been followed for over 20 years by our Irish volunteer Gena Heraty.

The Celtic Harp Orchestra, made up of over 20 harps and led by Fabius Constable, exceptionally talented and internationally famous harpist, who founded and directed the Orchestra in the most famous theaters both in Italy and in the world, will perform in the ancient basilica of San Lorenzo in Milan.

DeSidera, from the stars: the Celtic Harp Orchestra’s performances are a journey in history and in between stories, which engages the audience in a wave of sound and light. The music will be accompanied by the intense visual emotion of lights that will arise from the many cords of the harp and that will dance along with the notes. The Orchestra, who donates this evening to the children of Haiti, will range from classical Celtic tradition to classical music, from the dancing rhythms of Irish jigs to medieval ballads, from jazz to baroque music.

The entire proceeds of the concert will be donated to “Kay St Simon” project in Haiti, a place that will welcome and help rehabilitate children in need with permanent physical and physiological handicaps who have been abandoned by their families. The structure will welcome from 12 to 25 children. Gena Heraty, Irish volunteer for N.P.H, has been coordinating for over 20 years, with great love and dedication, programs for disabled children in Haiti: a country where, according to voodoo, disabled children are considered possessed by evil spirits, specialized structures, family support, physiotherapy and the distribution of adequate medicines don’t exist.

DeSidera: an event for lovers of Ireland and its generous population, for lovers of good music and for whoever wishes for a better future for the children of Haiti.

Minimum donation: 10 euros for adults and 5 euros for children younger than 14 years old.

To reserve: Fondazione Francesca Rava – NPH Italia Onlus, tel 0254122917, eventi@nph-italia.org, www.nph-italia.org


Fondazione Francesca Rava – N.P.H. Italy, in partnership with Fondazione Bracco, in collaboration with the Embassy of Haiti in Italy – Haiti Pavilion for Expo 2015, with the Professional Institute Carlo Porta of Milan and with the sponsorship of Expo for Expo’s topic “Feeding the Planet. Energy for Life “, will allow 25 of the most deserving seniors of the Haitian hotel institute in Port au Prince to carry out an exchange program of experience and training in Italy for two weeks (divided between January, May and October ) at the State Institute for Wine and Tourism “Carlo Porta” in Milan.
This project’s goals are:

– To try to break the cycle of poverty and provide a concrete future to the kids that grow up in NPH’s orphanages and street schools in Haiti by providing them with the tools to be survive on their own, by giving them their self-confidence back through hard work and by giving them the opportunity to contribute to the rebirth of their country and to help their “brothers”.
– Offer real cultural and professional training to both Italian and Haitian students, through sharing of common experiences both scholastic and extracurricular (visits to restaurants, hotels and companies linked to the food and wine sector in the region of Lombardy);
– Develop professional skills and “know-how” to increase employment opportunities in Haiti and in Italy. Students will arrive in Italy thanks to scholarships supported by Fondazione Bracco and will hold brief internship at restaurants, hotels and companies linked to the food and wine sector.

The academic program includes specializations in gastronomy (cuisine and pastry making), dining and sale (with particular attention to sommelier formation) and tourist relations.



In the week of the 5th anniversary of the earthquake that, in January 2010, destroyed the island and caused 230000 deaths, 300000 injured people and 1 million displaced people, the Francesca Rava Foundation – NPH Italia Onlus and Father Rick Frechette, head of NPH Haiti from 28 years and doctor working in Haiti, remembers the victims; gives a message of hope by continuing to bring sanitary assistance, education and acceptance to thousands of children; launches an appeal for help for all of the children who are deeply in need of medical assistance, a home, food and the possibility to attend school.

Francesca Rava Foundation’s St. Damien Hospital welcomes 80000 young patients a year and, even today, remains the only free pediatric hospital in Haiti.

1. Fr. Wasson Angels of Light Program

Expansion of childcare services for displaced, vulnerable and at-risk children and youths. Founded and managed by hermanos mayores (adults that grew up at the flagship NPH Haiti home, St. Helene).

FWAL served 2,000 children weekly during the first year and a half. For the remaining 3.5 years, 1,000 children benefited weekly. The FWAL day camps turned into schools. Two permanent homes were established; St. Anne (children 0-6 years old) and St. Louis (children 7 – 18 years old). The FWAL homes served as a safe haven for children who experienced severe trauma and ensured their safety in a secure environment.

For more information, visit FWAL blog at:http://fwal.nph.org

2. Launch of Maternity and Neonatology Programs at St. Damien Pediatric Hospital where over 40,000 women and children received care.

• 50 high-risk newborns per month. The St. Damien Neonatology unit is one of only five neonatology departments available in the country. Since neonatal deaths accounts for half of the whole pediatric mortality rate, St. Damien is thrilled to bring this invaluable service to the country.

• 2,000 high-risk pregnancies per year. Woman were coming to St. Damien after the earthquake because they were ready to give birth and had nowhere else to go. The program developed throughout the years to focus on high-risk pregnancies in conjunction with the neonatal unit.

3. Improvement of water treatment/purification system at St. Helene Home for 351 residents, 400 external community students and 258 staff. The system is an ultraviolet sterilization (UV) and filtration system and is capable of treating up to 2200 liters per hour, and only one hour of power to treat the entire raw water tank.

According to a study conducted by The Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, only 55.2 percent of the Haiti population has access to an improved water source, while close to 70 percent does not have direct access to potable water. Water Facts from water.org

4. Expansion of Rehab Program Services Including; -new adult therapy program and construction of Kay Gabirel -improving school and services of Kay Germaine -training for communities in northern Haiti -only program known in Haiti offering training and family assistance for special needs children

In Haiti, 1 in 10 people are disabled and those with special needs are often treated as sub-human and without rights. The Special Needs Programs of NPH Haiti offer alternative, rehabilitative care to this vulnerable population, with the goal of having each child and adult reach their full potential. An average of 100 students have attended the Kay Germaine school since the earthquake, with the majority of them receiving physical, occupational and speech therapy. 250 children receive therapy monthly between all the programs.

5. Responding to Rehydration and Cholera Epidemic

NPH and partner, the St. Luke Foundation, sprang into high gear when cholera emerged in Haiti, just 10 months after the earthquake. In a combined effort over 41,000 adults and children have received vital healthcare services.

6. Job Creation and Training

Offering more specialty services and programs creates more employment. NPH Haiti has offered numerous staff opportunities to travel abroad for training or intensive in- country training.

Additionally, St. Damien Pediatric Hospital launched a pediatric residency program. Currently there are seven second year residents that began in 2013, and six first year residents that began in 2014. There is a severe shortage for specialty training for medical graduates in Haiti. Only 60% of them have access to a residency program. Furthermore, only 300 pediatricians are in function in a country where 30% of the 10 million inhabitants are children under 15 years of age.

NPH Haiti programs employ 986 people, with estimates that each salary supports a family of five.

7. FWAL School and Nutrition

It is with great pride that FWAL is able to continue providing a free education for FWAL children and community children. This year we have almost 900 students in kinder, primary and secondary classes. This is the fifth year of offering a quality education to many children in need who would otherwise not be able to afford school.

Each student also received a free lunch. Menus are planned carefully to make sure the children’s meals are extra nutritious, as for many our external students will only have this one meal for the day.

8. Higher Education

Three Haitian university leaders have participated in the NPH International Seattle Leadership program, where they focused on their English, leadership development, cultural immersion and service and practical experience. The expected outcome is that these emerging leaders will return to their NPH family better prepared to continue Father Wasson’s vision of his older children caring for the next generations of children in need.

NPH Haiti has university students studying in the US, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Germany. The first medical student graduated in 2010. Currently there are 100 university students!

9. Food Production On Our Tilapia Farm

In February 2014, St. Damien began a Tilapia farm project with help from Operation Blessing. The project began with 8,000 fish in two outdoor above ground pool size tanks. There have been eight harvests in 2014, which was 32,000 fish or 16,000 lbs of fish. This program is in an effort toward sustainable and local production of protein and vitamin rich food for the hospital and NPH homes and schools, and an additional source of income for the hospital.

“Many days in the year, days of joy, smile, tears.

Each step taken in the generous way of life,
hands held, the kissed faces, looks genuine.

The pain of hunger, loneliness of those who sleep in the streets,
chest desolate mothers with dying children.

Wise eyes of gratitude,
the eternal embrace of old friends,
the coffee mornings that accompanies us in our dialogues.

The words of encouragement when fear invades,
the little hands that caress the soul.

A day of birth, the birth of life, light
A day to look inside and find a child
it can be reborn in each.
A child who became larger and can become a child
which can become moon and rainbow.

The party that recalls the love that comes in every being.
The celebration of the living God, the little god that grows with us.
The blessing of life and share it with those in whom this
Teeny God sleeps or is hungry, or jumps and laughs out loud.

I wish everyone with whom we share life, in the distance, nearby,
in the cyber world, a very Merry Christmas and a 2015 full of health, love andprosperity.

A huge hug.”



I write these words on the fourth of the seven golden nights.

It’s a Catholic tradition for the last 1600 years, to beg God’s help for humanity on seven consecutive nights, starting on December 17 and ending at Christmas.

Each of the seven prayers is offered in the evening, each is brief and powerful, each is taken from the Scriptures, and together they bind the ages of history with a single golden thread. This is why they are called the golden nights.

Each of the prayers is also the entry song for the famous canticle of vespers called the Magnificat, which although it applies to Mary, and echoes far back into the Bible, is for the one praying a way to give God permission to use them in any way helpful to the salvation of the world.

The idea of salvation is far from uniform among the worlds many religions, but for sure in the Christian tradition it includes making this world a better place.

Although we are getting ready for Christmas, what is more on my mind is an anniversary that will come three weeks from now, the fifth anniversary of Haiti’s devastating earthquake.

For me this memory will always be tied to the death of my mother. I left Haiti for Connecticut right after Christmas that year, to join my family in taking the best care of my mother that we could while she was dying of cancer, and to be able to spend time with her before she was gone forever, especially since my priesthood has kept me far from home for the past 35 years.

During those precious days, on January 12th we watched with disbelief and with horror the news of the earthquake on television. I was shaken by the tragedy in Haiti, and torn as to what to do because to return to Haiti would be to sacrifice the chance to be with my mother, to help her, hold her, hear her last works and advice, for this very last time on earth.

I remember her words clearly, when taking her eyes off the television she looked at me and said, “Rick, you have to go back to Haiti right away, your help will be lifesaving.”

We spoke into the late hours, and I delayed leaving home for as long as I could, but at midnight I had to head to New York, to catch the first flight to the Dominican Republic, to travel by land to Port au Prince. As I closed the kitchen door behind me that night, it felt like the heaviest door on earth.

The Prophet Isaiah said “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the one who brings news of peace, who announces good things, who announces salvation. (Isaiah 52:7)

Arriving in Haiti the next days, it was immensely evident that the backdrop to all the chaos and sorrow was heroism.

How beautiful upon the mountains the torn feet of wounded mothers as they carried their wounded children to our doors for help.

How beautiful up the mountains the feet of the strangers who dug through rubble with their bare and bloody hands, desperate to open a pathway wherever they heard the weak cries of someone buried alive, and who then brought them to our doors, using sheets, broken boards and their backs to carry them.

How beautiful upon the mountains the single foot of so many survivors who, in order to live, had to sacrifice parts of their bodies. How beautiful their courage and determination, their love of life.

How beautiful upon the mountains the feet of the thousands and thousands of homeless, sleeping on streets, medians and in public parks, singing thunderous songs into the night, songs of lament and supplication.

How beautiful the feet!

Why were feet of the messenger the focus of Isaiah’s praise?

It’s because in ancient times, the only way to receive news, was by someone personally bringing it on foot. The word came through a person. It was close and personal. The bearer of the word suffered to do so, and took personal sacrifices and risks.

The massive help required in the face of the earthquake needed to be close and personal, good words in action, at great sacrifice and risk.

And so I continue:

How beautiful upon the mountains the feet of the courageous and generous St. Luke and NPH teams, who in spite of their own losses and sorrows, sped to the rescue without hesitation or delay.

How beautiful upon the mountains their feet as they set up rescue camps for vulnerable children, maternity programs, and shared food and drink, clothes and blankets with thousands in steady supply.

How beautiful upon the mountains the feet of our teams who buried the dead in seemingly infinite numbers, praying over them the Hail Mary and the Mourners Kaddish.

How beautiful upon the mountains the weary feet of our medical teams, enlarging the hospital by using tents, gardens and sidewalks, to care for the endless stream of the wounded coming through our gates.

How beautiful upon the mountains those who left their homes in Italy, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, France, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, and so many countries to tend to the wounded, bind their wounds, perform their surgeries, and deliver their babies. They slept on crowded roofs when they slept at all, they gave their skills and their love to a suffering nation.

(Having said all these blessing, the awful parts were really awful, as you can imagine.)

Finally, how blessed on the mountains the two beautiful feet of our twin missions, NPH and St. Luke, the second born from the fruit of the first, and grounded in the spirit of the St. Paul of the Cross, two large feet leaving impressive tracks of goodness, complementary to each other and interchanging, together building solid institutions, and ever committed to impressive front line engagement and long standing community based commitment, in a relentless effort to relieve human suffering.

From these two missions were born these fruits since the earthquake:

The Fr. Wasson Angels of Light home and school, for child victims of the earthquake, and other vulnerable children.

The high-risk maternity and neonatology programs at St. Damien Hospital.

St. Luke Hospital, St. Mary Hospital, and Manitane pre natal clinic and women’s health center.

The cholera units at St. Damien, St. Luke and St. Mary hospitals.

The enormous high school, the Academy for Peace and Justice.

The Sr. Joan Margaret School for the blind and deaf.

The rehabilitation and physical therapy programs at St. Germain, Gabriel and Kay Eliane.

Community development and the building of 150 houses for the poor.

The repair of St. Luke elementary schools and the addition of 3 new ones for a total of 30 schools.

The Vocation and professional school, Our Lady of Guadeloupe.

The expansion and improvement of Francisville Production Center.

The creation of the Villa Francesca Guest center.

The enlargement of the programs for teens and young adults, expansion of the University program including international studies, expanded high school programs and special programs for troubled youth.

The planting of fields and harvesting of mangos, bananas, moringa, and other crops and fruits.

The high intensity cultivation of tilapa, the raising of chickens (broilers and laying hens), the raising of rabbits.

The roasting of native coffee and preferential employment of people with earthquake related disabilities to work in the agricultural program.

The team that cares for the mentally ill on the streets and in the state asylum.

The disaster teams that bring relief in flooding and hurricanes, fires and other disasters, and continue to bury 6,000 destitute dead a year.

All of these works, in addition to what we were doing before the earthquake, continue in vigor, and provide 1,600 jobs, everyone one of which is aimed at caring for the vulnerable or marginalized.

So you see, the famous question about Haiti, “Where did all the money go?” doesn’t apply to us. It was received, used well, is giving good fruit, and you can come and visit and see for yourself any time. We would be very glad for our visit.

Our feet are rooted and anchored, on the ground for many decades, fully committed in their pace and stride, and don’t step back come hell or high water.

Our feet carry the daily load of arduous work, we bear the heat and dust of the day, our work is person to person, our faith and hope are shared, as are our dangers, our sorrows and our joys. We accept the hard work gladly, our jobs are not desk jobs. We do not give up, because love never fails.

I started this letter talking about the seven prayers for humanity. It’s time now for the fourth prayer. I think you agree that prayers for humanity during these golden nights have never been more important.

I have noticed in life that often the very best of us comes out when very worst is happening.

Let’s stick together and not lose this great momentum. There is still plenty of “worst” out there.

You can’t beat the cause. It’s us. The human family,

Merry Christmas and blessings in the new year!

Fr. Rick Frechette 

National Director, NPH Haiti


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